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Azrael #49 : Gotham City Must Die
Writer : Dennis O'Neil
Penciller : Roger Robinson
Inker : James Pascoe
Colourist : Demetrius Bassoukos
Seperations : Prismacolor
Letterer : Ken Bruzenak
Assistant Editor : Frank Berrios
Editor : Mike Carlin

synopsis :

While Nick Scratch convinces businesses to leave Gotham, and televises an empassioned plea to leave Gotham for dead, he sets in motion a plan to blow up Chief Justice Osgood Rockfirth, and ensure Gotham gets buried in political fallout. Azrael disobeys Batman's orders and gets Oracles help in locating him to warn him about the bomb. Unable to meet with the Chief justice as Jean-Paul Valley, he re-dons the Azrael costume and breaks in to the meeting and disposes of he bomb.

Review :

Denny's scripting of Scratches speech is a powerful peice of work, intercutting it with the members of Gotham's population who most represent the opposite of his words. In a sense Denny uses this mirror to cast a refection of what Nick Scratch truely is. By contrasting the disription of bats as agents of devilry Denny's magic mirror makes it all the more clear that Scratch is the agent of devilry. He also shows us that Nick Scratch tailors his appearance and behavior towards whoever he is around, paralleling the dogma that the devil assumes forms pleasing to the eye in temptation. Denny's work on Azrael's action under duress is also interesting. He shows us that his training before Knightfall has imprinted upon him, and that those germenating detective skills displayed in #32 are starting to bud. Azrael's reconciliation with Batman also seemed natural more so than every meeting since #31 and for the first time in a while we see Jean-Paul as a man and not as someone who looks for things for Azrael to do.

Robinson's use of perspective continues to make his art interesting, and while most of his camera angles are pretty uninventive, he occaisionally manages one that pulls off mood and makes a killer panel for example page ten makes great use of perspective while the second last panel of page nine looks slightly awkward. The dynamics of the poses and figures are also to be commended as they are highly energetic when necessary and natural when that is of importance.

Rant :

I was expecting more on Nick Scratch this issue, perhaps a more informative origin. Revelations in the other Bat titles indicate that Scratches goons aren't human and Scratch is increasingly dipicted as demonic in subtle and not so subtle terms. As it is Azrael gets some decent treatment from Batman, if only other titles would give Azrael decent treatment, not one other Road to NML book has mentioned his name. Azrael's habit of driving cars from the roof seems to manifest itself in the most spectacular fashion. Last time he did it in #16 he drove it at a national guard road block. Hmmm. I see a pattern emerging, I'd expect the next lot of soldiers Azrael meets while driving to vacate the area PDQ.

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